After graduation from Laurel Park High School in 1989, Dillard went to Radford University, where he played basketball starting in his freshman year.
That experience “exposed me to different things,” he said, and he started to love writing when he was in college.
His career started with teaching and coaching before going into school administration. This past school year was his first as director of community learning at the Center for Community Learning.
He and his wife, LaTonda Dillard, have three children, Caleb, 21; Ciera, 17; and Cadance, 11. Some of his poems “reflect back on the day each of them was born. … If a father or mother read that, they will think back to when their kids were born, how it empowered them and how it was like in those moments,” he said.
One of his favorite scriptures is “To whom much is given, much is required,” he said – and so it is that his blessings have encouraged him to help others.
“To grow up in a pretty tough community, to come out of it with a college degree, a great family and great friends, I believe that it’s my responsibility … to come back and help others realize that they can ready their full potential, whether through basketball camp, a poem, a speaking event, a conversation” or more.
He started Stop the Violence Walk in 2011, promoted by his brother’s murder. It has been presented each year since, on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, starting with a 1.5-mile walk in Sandy Level and ending with a program at St. John Baptist Church. The popular program, attended by hundreds of people, features music, speakers and a skit.